Practice management systems have quickly become a popular topic in the healthcare industry. For those who have not implemented these systems into your practices yet, you better be ready to do so soon. These systems embody all the many characteristics of a medical practice, and they will help to build a functioning system that will successfully care for patients and benefit the practice overall.
Starting with the schedule, most practice management systems will contain a basic scheduling module that record appointments. With some of the limitations on care depending on the payer and the insurance plan, the front desk scheduling staff is now the main gatekeepers of who can be seen, when, and for how long. Alerts such as authorizations, financial caps, and patient balances are just a few examples of features in TheraOffice Scheduling that make life easier for those scheduling patients. Documents such as insurance cards, drivers licenses, intake forms, etc. can all be scanned directly into TheraOffice Scheduling eliminating paper, and organizing patient’s charts. Eligibility for patient’s insurances can be also verified electronically via electronic verification without ever having to make a call to the insurance, and wait on hold.
Once an after thought of treating the patient or a “good practice” – documentation these days is required and a major component in practice management systems. Typically, documentation modules of practice management systems can help to more efficiently document care more so than hand written notes. As more payer requirements come into effect (such as PQRS and Functional Limitation Reporting for Medicare), the billing now needs to be driven from and evaluated by the therapists treating the patient, and not by billing staff. Electronic documentation has always been a sticking point for adoption of practice management systems because the therapists would have to adapt to the way the forms were setup. Many practice management systems such as TheraOffice now have fully customizable documentation forms that can be customized to the practice, not the other way around.
Integration with the billing module of practice management systems can increase efficiency and reduce errors vs. hand entering or re-entering data from a therapist’s hand written notes or another system. With TheraOffice Accounting, charges flow directly from Documentation after the therapist completes their notes in Accounting where they can be automatically checked for errors and then uploaded to a clearinghouse all electronically. Payments from the insurance company can be directly downloaded electronically via electronic remittance advice (ERA’s) which can more quickly apply payments to patients visits than hand entering them from a paper EOB. Finally, patient statements can be printed and mailed. If the patient opts to pay the statement via a credit card, practice management systems that integrate with credit card gateways such as TheraOffice can directly apply that payment to the statement.
Besides saving you time and reducing expenses, another benefit to using practice management systems is that you are able to access your data even if you are not in the office (depending on what system you use). If you have a web based practice management system such as TheraOffice Web, you can access your documents from the comfort of your own home. With TheraOffice’s new Schedule Viewer App, you can access your schedule and patient contact information from your phone on the go.
Practice management systems are now becoming the new normal and seen widely in various physical therapy clinics across the US. Medicare has had a major influence on this do to the financial penalties that will occur in the next few years if documenting and reporting is not done correctly.
Although the process of installing and implementing this software might seem frightening, what you do now will definitely pay off in the long run. If you are looking to improve the overall stability and success of your clinic, a practice management system like TheraOffice is a must.